You may or may not realize that part of what I do in my coaching practice is help clients get out of their heads. And you may be wondering exactly what that means and why it matters. Well, it matters because we want answers. We want control. We want things to be smooth and exactly the way we want them.
When none of this happens, we double-down and add more control and demand more answers. It becomes a vicious circle of expectation and disappointment. Why would we do that to ourselves?
Let me explain quick, using golf. Incidentally, I don’t golf, don’t watch golf, and don’t have any desire to learn, but it is the sport in which you are the most alone in your game which makes it perfect for this topic!
A golfer has an expectation to be top in her four-some. Or top on the leader-board. In order to do so, she must have X number below par. (The only sport where below average is actually better.) She starts the day optimism and joy and tells herself it’s going to be amazing day! Now she’s up to bat, no…. where… Oh, right, the Tee box and is preparing for her first drive! She takes a breath and swings. The ball flies towards the green and lands 10 feet from the hole.
Perfect! At the second tee: breath, swing, short. During the walk to the first green they were talking and she thought about something she had forgotten. Now she’s preoccupied. Third tee: swing, slice, swear words. Ball lands 10 feet outside the green. Fourth tee: Swing. Divot. Swear words.
You see where this is going, right? She’s not in the moment. She’s not enjoying her time on the links with her friends and she’s thinking about a conversation she had that triggered a reminder for a thing she didn’t do. She’s in her head.
Nothing anyone says can help her come back to the moment and enjoy this game with her friends, except her.
Here are 6 ways Miss Golfer – and you – can get back in the game when life is living in your head.
Simply recognizing the thought and stopping it will help you to refocus. Every change first requires an awareness of what needs to be changed. If you are in your head, acknowledge the thoughts that are distracting.
The best part about breathing, aside from continuing to live of course, is that you can do it any time! In a meeting. In the car. It’s so versatile that when any feelings come up and distract us – anger, frustration, confusion – all we have to do is breathe for a few seconds and we can refocus. Someone taught me a 16 count breath once. Breath in for four counts. Hold for four counts. Breath out for four counts. Hold for four counts. Repeat as needed.
Asking this question of yourself is something the brain can answer. Is thinking about that thing I didn’t get done helpful right now? Can I change the past and get it done? Am I really going to stop what I’m doing and go take care of that thing? Sometimes you might, but if you are Miss Golfer enjoying time with your friends on a beautiful day, probably not. So, no, thinking about it is not helpful.
This has been a buzzword for a while. Mindfulness is about being in the moment. We can’t stay in our heads if we’re focused on our surroundings.
If you are actually out on the links, you’re already walking. However, if you are in an office or a meeting or a conversation that is becoming stressful, take a walk. Changing your scenery can’t help but help.
Run through a list of the things you have in life. These are people, or things, or experiences you’ve had that gave you pleasure and happiness. Even thinking about something will shift your body into a state of flow.
I hope you find these tips helpful and remember that only you set your limits!
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